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Falaise is a town (population 9,000) on the Ante River in the French region of Lower Normandy, famous as the birthplace of William the Conquerer and the scene of the fierce fighting of August 1944 associated with the Allied "breakout" from the "Falaise pocket" that built up after the D-Day landings, to drive towards Paris during the Western campaign against the German occupation.


In August 1944, two German armies attempted to breakout of the "Falaise pocket" (also known as the "Falaise gap"). With the United States First Army on the southern arm, the British 2nd Army on the base, and the Canadian First Army on the northern arm, the Allied Armies encircled and destroyed both the German Seventh and the Fifth Panzer Armies. Some 10,000 German troops were killed and 50,000 taken prisoner. This decisive battle led to a rapid advance of the Allied Armies through northern France and through the Low Countries to the Rhine Delta allowing the immediate liberation of Paris. Two-thirds of Falaise was destroyed by Allied bombing before the town was eventually taken by Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

From Paris, Falaise is a 262 km (3 h) drive west of the French capital by the A13 , then south from Caen.

Located in the southern reaches of Normandy, Falaise represents half a day's excursion from the other major towns of Normandy:

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • the Château Guillaume-le-Conquérant de Falaise [1], Place Guillaume le Conquérant, tel 02 31 41 61 44, fax 02 31 41 66 87, open Feb—Dec 10AM-6PM (closes 7PM Jul and Aug), NB: closed 8 Jan—9 Feb inclusive and Christmas Day, admission adults €6.50, concessions and students €5, children 6-16 €3 - William the Conquerer's birthplace and an important stronghold of the Dukes of Normandy and English kings until the French king Phillipe Augustus wrested the castle from the hands of King John in 1204. The castle remains an impressive example of Norman fortification. Excellent audio-visual displays. English guided tours available (phone ahead). Castle shop.
  • the Mémorial de Coudehard-Montormel [2], a memorial and museum devoted the battle of Falaise

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Falaise Market, Place du marche. Saturdays. Every Saturday in and around the main square and Market hall. Fresh food, including fabulous fish and shellfish, vegetables, meat, poultry and cheese. Also clothes, plants and even furniture.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

Having visited Falaise, you might like an excursion to other places that were important in the life of William the Conquerer. Caen and Bayeux lie less than 1 h to the north of the city.

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